BERTRAND: FROM BERMONDSEY TO BAVARIA

Posted on: Mon 21 May 2012

One game and one winner's medal into his Champions League career, Ryan Bertrand has thanked Roberto Di Matteo for showing the trust in him to start in Munich.

The 22-year-old made his debut in Europe's top competition on Saturday night, in only his 13th Chelsea start, but contributed hugely in an unfamiliar left-wing role to help null the threat of both Arjen Robben and Bayern captain Philipp Lahm, before heroics from Petr Cech and Didier Drogba helped us lift our first ever European Cup.

Only given the nod by the interim coach on Saturday afternoon, Bertrand was inspired by messages from his family as he reflected on a childhood growing up playing on Bermondsey estates, more than 150 games on loan away from Stamford Bridge, and his manager's faith.

'I did my best to put everything to the back of my mind and take it as another game, but I had all these images flashing through my head of where I have come from and thinking about doing myself justice,' Bertrand said. 'I've been on loan a lot and taught over the years to play the game and not the occasion.

'I used to play with my brother in Bermondsey, playing "World Cup", every man for themselves at the bottom of the flats, against a wall with the "No Ball Games" sign up, from then to Saturday night.'

Bertrand sings at the Chelsea parade

Bertrand went on to explain just how Di Matteo motivated his side before the biggest night in the club's history.

'Robbie has been massive, words can't describe it. For him to show real trust in me breeds confidence, to know a manager trusts you means you can go out and express yourself,' he said.

'We had a little video session before with messages from the families to every player. He asked me who they all were, and then told me I was starting tonight. He has thrown me into some games and hopefully I have won him over and I can keep it going.

'I had my mum and brother saying well done and good luck to the whole team, and then it was the whole family saying it. There was a lot of laughter and it really spurred us all on.

'I've had a lot of messages after the game and I can't wait to get back and go back home and see everyone I haven't seen in a while. Every single message means a lot, and the medal stays right here around my neck.'

It has been a long time coming for Bertrand, who joined the Chelsea Academy from Gillingham in 2005. With experience gained out on loan he has had to be patient for his chance at Stamford Bridge, but had huge praise for the man responsible for keeping him sidelined.

Bertrand and Cole celebrate in Munich

'Ashley Cole is the best left-back out there. He has been fantastic with me and I've learned so much from him. He's a top man. We developed a good relationship and he trusts me a lot,' he said.

'Going on loan you have to think about yourself and your career, you have to be realistic but I've stuck in there and thankfully everything has paid off.

'There are times when you have to have a Plan A, B and C, but I've dug in, turned a few people's heads and managed to get a start.

'Most people don't get to the Champions League Final in their lifetime, let alone go on to win it, and this is extra special.

'Last season, Steve Holland reminded me, I'd come back from Nottingham Forest and was trying to get a few games while playing in the reserves to keep fitness up, and we won the reserve league, so this is a bit of a contrast!'